Former Auburn defensive back Mike McNeil has agreed to plead guilty to first-degree robbery. Judge, attorneys conferring now.— John Zenor (@jzenor) April 8, 2013
Mike McNeil receives 15-year split sentence, must serve at least 3 years plus 3 years probation.— John Zenor (@jzenor) April 8, 2013
According to Ed Enoch of AL.com McNeil was also "indicted on five counts of first-degree robbery, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of third-degree theft of property" stemming from a 2011 armed home invasion, but those charges were dropped in the plea agreement.
Three of his teammates—Dakota Mosley, Shaun Kitchens and Antonio Goodwin—were also charged in the incident, and Goodwin is currently serving a 15-year sentence.
Per Enoch, prosecutors alleged that McNeil was armed with a .45-caliber handgun—which he was borrowing from teammate and running back Michael Dyer—when he, Kitchens and Goodwin robbed five students while Mosely waited in the car.
Enoch states that McNeil's attorney, Ben Hand, claimed his client could have presented a strong case, but, "The totality of the circumstances make this the best deal."
McNeil is also currently at the center of the Auburn controversy based on Selena Roberts' report for Roopstigo that alleged the university committed academic fraud to keep football players eligible.
Before the season, McNeil says he was given an F for attendance in a computer science class. “I had B work but I missed too many classes; and I went to the instructor and said, ‘I really need this grade,’” says McNeil. “He said that he was sorry but he wouldn’t change it. I went to the person over him. She was in a position of power and backed up the instructor. I then told my counselor with the athletic department.” Within days, McNeil says, the grade was changed from an F to a C and he did not miss a game.
In that report, McNeil also claimed he was given $400 after a practice by former assistant coach Will Muschamp, now the head coach at Florida.
Several other former Auburn players spoke out about academic fraud at the university, according to Roberts, but many have backtracked on their statements, leading some to question Roberts' piece and others to wonder if those athletes were pressured by the university and its alumni to retract their statements.